The Four Noble Truths

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by Bowser, Feb 16, 2011.

  1. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Siddhārtha Gautama was a con-artist who enticed others to follow a path that only led back to the same place: the truth of existence. Let's face it, he was a prince who struggled with the realities of life. Searching for an answer, he finally came to terms with it. What a waste of time...or maybe not. Anyway, it's a long journey to take towards the realization that things are just the way they are, regardless of how we think they should be.

    I could never follow the "Eightfold Path;" therefore, I guess I'm doomed to walk this Earth for eternity, playing out my Karmic role forever, or so the story goes. As for the Four Noble Truths, I can see where desires might be problematic, but they are not the source of all our woes. For many they are a source of great hope and the motivator to move forward.

    So, that's my take on the subject. I could be wrong, but I'm probably right.
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  3. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    Some of what you said is true but don't toss "buddhism" away as a whole just because of that.

    You can learn alot even if some of the things are not true you can just discard them when you find new truths that debunk them. Failure is progress in the eyes of a wise man, learn from mistakes but dont throw away gems you find on the way even if you have to rummage through lots of stones to find them.

    Buddhism isnt simply one "Philosophy" there are many types of buddhism I personaly Was a Zen buddhist student which is alot different than "mainsteam" buddhism if there even is such a thing which i dont think there is. Buddhism is strange its not like "western (middle eastern)" religions.

    Meditation is one thing buddhism is really useful for, learning Qi-gong goes hand in hand with what I studied and trained in. There is as much physical as there is mental training within this type of buddhism, To even be able to sit through the certain meditations you need to be strong. This is why Shaolin gong fu was invented, to help the buddhist become stronger and be able to last longer in prayer and meditation sessions. Holding a single posture for hours on end is difficult. Also they adapted it for fighting to fend off Bands of bandits and wild animals near the forest monastery/Temple. and this is where the Shaolin Lohan forms and Other "styles" originate. but in all honesty I tell you truly the Prophets and scriptures are the true way, Read the Bibles and the holy Quran.

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  5. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Maybe it would help to replae the word 'desire' with the word 'attachment' in our understanding of the second truth. The point isn't just to go sit down on a rock and never move, eat or breathe again. Suicide isn't the shortcut path to enlightenment.

    The Buddha lived, ate and taught. Presumably he still wanted to do those things. He isn't depicted as having been totally passionless and without motivation. But the thing is, he arguably wasn't emotionally attached to the events of his life in such a way that he had to do the things that he did to avoid suffering. He wasn't in danger of spiraling back into suffering if any of his possessions and comfort (what there were of them) or his activities were lost, as inevitably happens to everyone, even to him.

    Youths are typically convinced that if they can just be popular enough, cool enough, rich enough, powerful enough, get laid enough, or own the biggest house or the fastest car... then they will finally be completely happy and satisfied. But it never seems to happen like that. So presumably it just takes a little more to be happy...

    If people are convinced that's the way to go, then that's the direction in which they will go. Buddhism will probably hold little attraction for them.

    Things are inevitably going to happen to us that people typically perceive as unpleasant. That's simply the human condition. The question is whether entering into those states has to cause us to experience suffering. In a way, suffering is something that we do to ourselves, a state that we generate inside of ourselves.
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  7. EmptyForceOfChi Banned Banned

    Yes, Hacing dreams and passions are not the same as having worldly attachments, Maybe you should star with something like the daihli lamas book "The Art of Living" conquering any fears of death are key to starting a life of happiness ^_^

    Learn to draw a picture then burn it, write a poem then erase it. don't be attached to them.

  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

    Maybe because existence is existence. But in Buddhism, it's something else too, it's existence re-conceived. It's the same old existence, but a new way of relating to it, a new way of responding to it.

    That's a victory of a sort, in a universe, in a real-life, that so many people dream of escaping. Into what, I don't think that they have any precise idea. It doesn't really matter. Some place, some heaven or something, where everyone will finally be fully content, happy and satisfied, and where they won't ever suffer again.

    Buddhism is something different than that. It's more of a transformative psychology than a transformative ontology. Buddhism doesn't just leave us as we are, while promising to make the surrounding universe and the suffering it contains go away, to be replaced by an imagined paradise. Buddhism is a unique form of religious realism that accepts the universe as it appears and then tries to help us finally stop being psychic puppets who are constantly being jerked around by events.

    I don't think that Buddhism says that, exactly. It would be a negation of Buddhist ethics for one thing, turning it into a kind of fatalism.

    Buddhists can and do think that things can improve and many of them (not enough surely, humans being humans) work to make things better. Not just by preaching Buddhism either. There are a number of suttas in the Pali tripitaka that depict the Buddha advising local kings on how to better govern their states in the interests of their people. The Buddha took an interest in that kind of stuff, he didn't just dismiss it as unimportant.

    Once again, it's the issue of attachment, I think. The Buddha didn't tell people to just be morally inert, accepting and approving of everything. He doesn't seem to have been that way himself. What he did do was teach those that listened to him how they could still be satisfied and avoid suffering in their own lives even when things aren't happening just the way that they want them to happen.

    The eightfold path is an entire spiritual path summarized in a very succinct outline form. Just about all of the thousands of suttas in the Pali tripitaka represent expansions and commentary on different parts of it. The path needn't be all that difficult or all that demanding, for those that don't want it to be. It doesn't demand that people have any kind of supernatural faith in order to begin. It's very do-able and comes in easy to manage steps. It offers rewards from the very beginning to those who practice it. And although it starts out simply, it reveals impressive sophistication and depth for those who advance further.

    1. Right understanding - Most superficially, somebody has to have heard about Buddhism and developed some interest in it in order to initially decide to pursue it. As one moves along the path, the perfecting of the understanding of Buddhist doctrine, philosophy and psychology can grow very sophisticated indeed.

    2. Right resolve - In order to pursue the Buddhist path, there has to be a motivational factor. So right there, we have evidence that Buddhism isn't counseling that people not have any motivation. It's proposing ways in which motivation can be improved. That's the topic of the rest of the path factors, which address 'sila', or Buddhist ethics (external behavior), and 'samadhi', or Buddhist meditation (internal behavior).

    3. Right speech - If somebody is going to be a Buddhist, then I guess that they need to start talking like a Buddhist. It's interesting how talking-the-talk can start to change a person in deeper and less superficial ways. The talk becomes habitual and kind of inserts itself into the person's whole way of thinking and behaving. Others start to think of the person as being Buddhist and provide reinforcement. And it's very important to notice that right-speech isn't really about spouting Buddhist doctrine and pieties. It isn't preaching. It's about using words skillfully and helpfully, avoiding verbal combativeness, ego-struggles and words that hurt others.

    4. Right action - Just talking isn't enough. Buddhism typically addresses the subject of action by recommending lists of precepts. There are lots of these lists in Buddhism. These aren't conceived as being commandments, they are more along the lines of training-rules in various traditions and at various stages. The lists vary from the five basic precepts that every Buddhist layman is supposed to practice (many don't) to the hundreds of precepts followed by monastics. The five laypeople's 'pancasila' are: 1.don't kill. Buddhists are divided among themselves about whether this means taking all sentient life (some but not all Buddhists are vegetarians) or whether it just means murder. 2. don't steal and cultivate generosity instead. 3. don't lie and cultivate truthfulness instead. 4. don't engage in sexual misconduct. Once again, Buddhists are divided among themselves about what that includes, but everyone agrees on things like rape, child molesting and stuff like that. 5. don't abuse mind-clouding intoxicants that reduce mindfullness.

    5. Right livelihood - Eventually, right action should expand and grow to the point that it encompasses all of a person's life. It isn't just words to say and it isn't just rules that are honored on special religious-observance days or when visiting a temple or meeting monks.

    6. Right effort - This one sounds like a restatement of right resolve, but now it's signalling that the subject is turning to 'samadhi', to inner discipline and transformation. Again, the beginning is the motivation to start. And once embarked, this inner work needs to be done the right way.

    7. Right mindfulness - This is vipassana meditation which is discussed at great length in the suttas.

    8. Right concentration - This is samatha meditation, which is discussed at great length as well.

    I've given greater emphasis to 'sila' than to 'samadhi' in this little description of the eightfold path for two reasons. First, because Buddhist ethics often don't get the attention that they deserve. Western descriptions of Buddhism often give beginners the impression that the eight-fold path is really just a two-fold path, consisting of nothing but the last two path factors. And second, because Buddhist meditation is kind of technical and best practiced with the help of a qualified teacher.

    I hope that you noted that none of the eight path-factors was -- Lose all desire and motivation. Instead, what we saw was Right resolve and Right effort. There's a motivational component inherent in all of the eight path-factors.

    Again, I think that we might better conceive of this stuff in terms of 'attachment' than in terms of 'desire'. The goal isn't to lose all motivation. The summom-bonum isn't just to sit down in one final spot, wither-away and die. The goal is to move away from the situation where our desire and our suffering are tied together by dependent-origination (in our modern vocabulary, causally). Presumably motivations will continue for as long as we continue to live. That's just how it is. But we won't be psychologically dependent on them in the way that we presently are.
    Last edited: Feb 16, 2011
  9. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    I can see where a state of mind that lingers on remorse would cause and prolong suffering; however, there is no magic solution to remove all suffering. The perception is somewhat naive, and the claim that detachment can end suffering is too simplistic. I also question whether it is possible to live totally unencumbered by worldly concerns. Life demands our attention, and we are always involved with it to some extent.

    And as for "attachments," we all have them, family being the most significant. How can you remove yourself from your love of others? It's impossible.

    By the way, I appreciate your choice of words--attachments. That is probably closer to home than my choice.
  10. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    That was a very thoughtful response. I thank you for your efforts.
  11. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Without desire, there is no boredom.
  12. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Are you following the thread? We have abandoned the word "desire," and have to "attachment."
  13. Emil Valued Senior Member

    I believe that suffering is as necessary as happiness for humans.
    I think we have a higher or lower dose of masochism that turns suffering into a "tiling. "
    The human even if he has all the conditions to be happy he finds something to suffer.
  14. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    There is a magic solution that removes all suffering. It won't remove physical pain completely, but it helps there too. If you still love your family, you will have trouble understanding Buddhism, it's an impediment. We will still be happy or sad, but we won't be consumed by them, it's a subtle shift in the locus of consciousness.
  15. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Well, it sounds like an advert for the walking dead. How can you not love your family?
  16. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    How can there not be you?
  17. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    Explain. I am an assemblage of many things, my attachments being a part. But please clarify your response.
  18. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    Hmm...I thought the ideal was to love, but have a detached sort of love.
    That would fall under the heading of Mahayana Buddhism, wherein one vows to postpone ultimate enlightenment until all other beings are enlightened...
    Not exactly the act of a person who doesn't love.

    In the same way you also learn to relate to your pain, your anger, your sorrow, in a detached sort of fashion.

    This is really useful for people like me who have mood disorders-when our moods are making us miserable it allows us to hold them at arms length, and rather than blindly lash out, act out, or make ourselves worse, we get a necessary space to think :"Is this emotion in reaction to something or just haywire body chemistry playing silly buggers with me again?"

    If the answer's the latter, the answer menu is (a) wait, (b) do something like exercise to elevate mood, (c) get into a distraction until it passes, and/or (d) call shrink.

    Not all Buddhist teachers are monks; some get married and have kids like other people so it can't be that not loving your family is a requirement...

    Temple services at the local Zen place would require me to get up after a late night of work...meaning with about two hours' sleep, and drive an hour to go sit...Something tells me I'd be fast asleep in five minutes.:zzz: The Theraveda temple...pretty much has the same hours.

    Perhaps I should join the temple of Going Forth Around Elevenish.
  19. Bowser Namaste Valued Senior Member

    When you deny the reality of life, you appreciate it less. Meditate on the Buddha's Five Remembrances and rediscover the magic of life just as it is.

    I am of the nature to grow old.
    There is no way to escape growing old.

    I am of the nature to have ill health.
    There is no way to escape ill health.

    I am of the nature to die.
    There is no way to escape death.

    All that is dear to me and everyone I love
    are the nature to change.

    There is no way to escape
    being separated from them.

    My actions are my only true belongings.
    I cannot escape the consequences of my actions.

    My actions are the ground upon which I stand.

    from: The Plum Village Chanting, by Thich Nhat Hanh

    Now see, none of that seems unreasonable to me.
  20. spidergoat pubic diorama Valued Senior Member

    Are you really? Or are those things differentiated as a result of labeling them? Extend that to infinity, is there still a you? Love there seems to be, but nothing that loves. This is nothing we can really understand with the intellect, the intellect being the thing which generates labels and illusions.
  21. SciWriter Valued Senior Member

    A glimpse into Buddhism…

    I once climbed the Himalayas and complained to the wise Lama up there that life was hell. He said “Get lost! Go make a Heaven of Hell and then me tell. The door is never shut on the prison cell, so, why would you ever want to stay inside it when the door is always so wide open.”

    A week passed, then a month, and then 30 years—and I found myself at a Buddhist-run cafe and decided to sit there through most of the summer, having just retired from IBM and becoming as free as a neutrino in every way.

    The Cafe was run by the Buddha Girls from the monastery on Shafe Road, home to one of only two Lamas in the entire United States, and the only one on the east coast. The Cafe was called “Himalayas on the Hudson” and the Lama often came to eat there, with his entourage of higher-ups and bodyguards.

    Because I was there often, I got to know the Lama, his bodyguards soon retreating, and so I taught him how to do high fives and low fives and such and we began to talk about the connectedness that underlies all things, the reaching of which state through the removal of all thoughts is the very heart of Buddhism.
    In addition, I always gave him the weather for the rest of the day and for the next day, always saying that it would become sunny if it was raining, and that it would be still sunny if it was already sunny. And if it was really raining forever, we both knew that it was sunny on the inside.

    I remember, thinking upon first meeting him that “here he is”, the great one, and so I now have a chance to ask a deep question of him without having to go over to Tibet or India and climb up a mountain, so, I pointed to an article in the newspaper that said “We may never know who won the Presidential election, Bush or Gore” and I asked him for his wisdom on the matter. Well, he thought for only a second or two and said “Who cares!”, and such it sunk into me later that this was a great wisdom, indeed.

    The Cafe workers didn’t wear the flowing gold and reddish robes that the visiting Buddhists wore, but wore regular clothes and had long hair, and so, many of the hectic type customers, unknowing of this, wondered at the peace and joy that the workers radiated like some sort of serenity field, and I suppose the workers were chosen for their outgoingness as well.

    I talked with them about String theory, the theory that the differing vibrations of really small “strings” gives rise to all of the elementary particles and forces, and, so, we related this to all that is absolute and fundamental beneath this projection of reality in which we live out our life-dream.

    Buddhism is not a religion, but a way of life, and they can still have friends, outside jobs, fun, and whatnot, although some of them spend a lot of time on the inner world which, like meditation, can only be known as “not what you think”.

    Summer soon died in his sleep one night, and Time hurled its waves ever onward until even Old Autumn had passed on. The cafe was sold and had become an American-Korean restaurant run by Sin-Ha and Su-Nee, although still owned by the Buddhists. Winter snowed us in.

    In the spring, the Cafe, my “office”, announced that it was closing right away, for it could talk, although its Garden of Peace and Serenity, surrounded on three sides by 30-foot rocks, the “Himalayas”, was still open, and so I figured that it was time to move my “office” outdoors, not that I would ever do any W-O-R-K there, for that is a four-letter word to a retired person.

    Then, miracles of miracles, one day, after saying good-bye to the Koreans at the Cafe and taking home 50 eggs and many bags of chocolate chip cookies, I went back to the Cafe garden to sit under an umbrella table in the rain, and there was the old Lama himself, just sitting there alone, having just shown the building to someone who might lease it. I hadn’t seen him in 6 months, for he had been off to other continents. He gave me a medium high five and I told him that the sun would be out tomorrow, and that it was always sunny on the inside.
  22. BeHereNow Registered Senior Member

    I'm wondering how that fits with:

    A special transmission outside the scriptures;
    Depending not on words and letters;
    Pointing directly to the human mind;
    Seeing into one's nature, one becomes a Buddha.
  23. chimpkin C'mon, get happy! Registered Senior Member

    I'm not sure if there is a me or not.
    I'm not sure if there is a me it matters much.
    One night of chanting on LSD says there's something there, but what's there isn't very important.
    Maybe if I was more grounded in this I'd be a much better, braver person.
    So we are empty conduits of thought and emotion, is all?

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